When you tour, we’ll donate $100 in school supplies to the Kids In Need Foundation.

‘Tis the season for open hearts — and open houses. Every time you tour a Bungalo home through January 5, we’ll donate $100 to the Kids In Need Foundation.* That’s $100 in school supplies that will go directly to classrooms right in your community, helping the kids who need it the most. So this holiday season, be a hero by simply touring a Bungalo home.

How It Works 

Step 1: Download the Bungalo app (iOS, Android), your key to all Bungalo homes. 

Step 2: Tour any Bungalo home anytime 8am-8pm. No appointment needed.

Step 3: Once you’re done touring, rate the home through the Bungalo app. 

And just like that… you’ve helped gift $100 in school supplies to kids in need (yep, that’s a lot of colored pencils).

*Conditions apply. See official rules and regulations below.


This holiday season, when you tour a Bungalo home, we’ll donate $100 per qualifying visit to The Kids In Need Foundation, a 4-star rated recognized 501(c)(3).*


i) Tour any Bungalo home in-person using the free Bungalo mobile app.

ii) After your tour submit your tour feedback using the Bungalo app.

iii) We’ll donate $100 towards school supplies every time you tour a home!*


Homes must be toured in-person and tour feedback must be submitted within the Bungalo mobile app to qualify. You may tour multiple homes to increase your participation level, but touring the same home more than once does not qualify. Tour feedback can be submitted anytime during the Promotion Period.

Bungalo’s maximum total donation will be USD $10,000. Donations will be made in partnership with our affiliate, Capital City Fund For Education Inc.

1. CAMPAIGN DESCRIPTION: The “TOUR A HOME, BE A HERO” campaign (the “campaign”) begins on Wednesday, December 11th at 8am ET/7am CT and ends on Sunday January 5th at 11:59pm ET/10:59pm CT (the “Promotion Period”).

The sponsor of this Campaign is Bungalo (“Sponsor”). By participating in the Campaign, each Entrant unconditionally accepts and agrees to comply with and abide by these Official Rules and the decisions of Sponsor, which shall be final and binding in all respects. Sponsor is responsible for the collection, submission or processing of Home Tour Feedback Submissions (“Feedback Submissions”) and the overall administration of the Campaign. Entrants should look solely to Sponsor with any questions, comments or problems related to the Campaign. Sponsor may be reached by email at during the Promotion Period.

2. ELIGIBILITY: Open to legal residents of the contiguous United States who are 18 years old or older (the “Entrant”). Sponsor, and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, distributors, retailers, sales representatives, advertising and promotion agencies and each of their respective officers, directors and employees (the “Promotion Entities”), are ineligible to participate in the Campaign. Household Members and Immediate Family Members of such individuals are also not eligible to participate. “Household Members” shall mean those people who share the same residence at least three months a year. “Immediate Family Members” shall mean parents, step-parents, legal guardians, children, step-children, siblings, step-siblings, or spouses. This Campaign is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited or restricted by law.

3. HOW TO PARTICIPATE: Entrants may participate in the Campaign during the Promotion Period by: 1) Touring any Bungalo home in-person using the free Bungalo mobile app. 2) Submitting tour feedback using the Bungalo app.

Homes must be toured in-person and Feedback Submissions must be submitted within the Bungalo mobile app to qualify. Entrants may tour multiple homes to increase their participation level, but touring the same home more than once does not qualify. Feedback Submissions may be submitted anytime during the Promotion Period.

4. HOW TO SUBMIT TOUR FEEDBACK: Feedback Submissions can be submitted by opening the Bungalo app once a home tour has begun. A tour feedback module will display, where the tour may be rated from 1-5 stars. Once a rating has been provided, a second screen will display where the home may be further reviewed using “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” responses. An optional text entry box will be available at the bottom of the screen for any written feedback. To successfully submit Feedback Submissions, Entrants must provide a tour rating and thumbs up/down responses and tap the submit button.

5. DONATION: Bungalo will donate $100 per qualifying Feedback Submission to The Kids In Need Foundation, a 4-star rated recognized 501(c)(3). Bungalo’s maximum total donation will be USD $10,000. The maximum total participation level per Entrant will be USD $500. Donations will be made in partnership with our affiliate, Capital City Fund For Education Inc.

6. PRIVACY. Any personal information supplied by Entrant will be subject to the privacy policy of the Sponsor posted at By entering the Campaign, Entrant grants Sponsor permission to share your first name and last initial, email address and any other personally identifiable information with the other Campaign Entities for the purpose of administration and charitable donation fulfillment, including use in a publicly available Participants list.

7. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY: Sponsor and Campaign Entities assume no responsibility or liability for (a) any incorrect or inaccurate participation information, or for any faulty or failed electronic data transmissions; (b) any unauthorized access to, or theft, destruction or alteration of Feedback Submissions at any point in the operation of this Campaign; (c) any technical malfunction, failure, error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or communications line failure, regardless of cause, with regard to any equipment, systems, networks, lines, satellites, servers, camera, computers or providers utilized in any aspect of the operation of the Campaign; (d) inaccessibility or unavailability of any network or wireless service, the Internet or website or any combination thereof; (e) suspended or discontinued Internet, wireless or landline phone service; or (f) any injury or damage to participant’s or to any other person’s computer or mobile device which may be related to or resulting from any attempt to participate in the Campaign or download of any materials in the Campaign.

If, for any reason, the Campaign is not capable of running as planned for reasons which may include without limitation, infection by computer virus, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes which may corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper conduct of this Campaign, the Sponsor reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Campaign in whole or in part. Sponsor and Campaign Entities shall not have any further liability to any Entrant in connection with the Campaign.

8. OFFICIAL RULES: To obtain a copy of the these Official Rules, send your request along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Bungalo cc: Tour a Home, Be a Hero at 5001 Plaza on the Lake Ste 200, Austin, TX 78746.



5001 Plaza on the Lake Ste 200, Austin, TX 78746

How a busy modern couple breezed through every step of their first home purchase like total pros.

As a young married couple, Sarah and Zaid were craving an upgrade from the cramped apartment life (and their cramped kitchen). Instead of paying high rent for a small space, they wanted to invest their hard-earned money toward a nicely renovated home they could call their own. They wanted an open layout where friends and family could easily hang out, a backyard built for entertaining, and a renovated kitchen where Sarah could take recipes for her healthy food website to the next level. 

But since Sarah and Zaid were first-timers, the road ahead of buying a home — and then owning one — looked unclear, and filled with obstacles and uncertainty. “We didn’t know what to look for,” says Sarah. “You hear all these stories about… you’re going to go live in your first house and have to deal with all these problems,” says Zaid. “And we’re like… alright, so what do we do?” 

Well, as fate would have it, one impromptu home tour was about to bring all the puzzle pieces together.

A home tour that changed the game. 

Sarah and Zaid kicked off their home search by browsing homes online and working with their real estate agent to scope out MLS listings. But when they started touring houses in person, the inconveniences started to pile up. 

“We tried to schedule appointments… it’s after work, we’re taking time out, we’re moving dinner aside and plans to go do it… and sometimes people would cancel,” says Sarah. When the appointments did pan out, Sarah and Zaid never really got the time they needed to get a good feel of the home. “We had 15 minutes to view one home. We didn’t really have time to envision ourselves in it,” says Sarah. After all that, it’s safe to say Sarah and Zaid were tired of touring on someone else’s schedule. And then one night after work, while they were in the area for a home tour appointment with their agent, Sarah and Zaid spotted a Bungalo ‘For Sale’ sign from the car. “We were excited when we saw that we could go in right then and there even though it was getting close to 7pm,” says Sarah. “I really liked the fact that, with Bungalo, you could tour on your own time. With our schedules that was really convenient… and necessary.”

I really liked the fact that, with Bungalo, you could tour on your own time. With our schedules that was really convenient…and necessary.

Until this point, Sarah and Zaid had found themselves sacrificing big items on their wishlist like an open kitchen. But that all changed when they toured their Bungalo home for the first time. “We walked in here and it started to check off all the things we were starting to give up,” says Sarah. “It’s all renovated. Everything was new and redone. We loved all the touches.” And with our inspection reports ready to view right there in the house, Sarah and Zaid knew exactly what they were looking at. “That was one thing that was really helpful for us with the 3rd party inspection,” says Sarah. “If there was something that they had mentioned, we were able to look and see… was that actually fixed… and have it right in front of us instead of having it hidden.”

Cruising through closing day. 

After touring, Sarah and Zaid were sure they found a home they could be confident in, so the next day, they made a first-come, first-served offer at Bungalo’s set price. “Once we were putting the offer in I was jumping up and down in that kitchen. I was so excited,” says Sarah. According to the couple, the Bungalo offer process went off way easier than expected. “A lot of the other homes we looked at… it was a guessing game.

Let’s get you to closing day. Manage the entire closing process like a pro with Bungalo’s digital closing checklist.

I loved that it was transparent and constant communication. We knew we were going to have a sure bet here.”

The closing process was surprisingly straightforward too. “We started the process at the Bungalo website and we basically went through the steps. It was…easy,” says Zaid. Using Bungalo’s online closing checklist, Sarah and Zaid were able to knock out one step of the closing process after another, no problem. “It was really cool to be able to track the status of it.” says Sarah. “To know we’re one step closer to closing and we’re on the right track and this is the due date for each item… that was really convenient.”

Only one thing left to do. Celebrate! 

The day their movers came, Sarah and Zaid popped open a bottle of champagne in their Bungalo home to celebrate. Now, Sarah and Zaid are all moved in, unpacked, and enjoying their new home to its fullest potential. Sarah’s favorite feature is the renovated kitchen. “I love having space. Everything has a place. It’s just so open,” says Sarah. “I run a Keto website on the side. I focus on low-carb recipes and healthy eating, and this kitchen allows me to not only plate things beautifully…but it’s also inspired a lot more options for cooking.” Zaid loves that their home has a great backyard for entertaining friends and a private gaming room for him, but his FAVORITE feature just happens to be the kitchen as well. Why? “Because I get to try my wife’s great food!” says Zaid. Welcome home, you two. 

Want to start your own Bungalo homeowner story? Easy.

Find and tour Bungalo Certified™ homes, get set up with a mortgage, and make an online offer, all through one easy-to-navigate platform. Browse homes.

Couple in the kitchen

This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, real estate, insurance, or investment advice. Bungalo always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.

So, you’ve found a home. It’s just the right size, the dream neighborhood, and you’re ready to make your move (literally). There are many factors at play—job relocations, new communities, maybe even a new city to explore—but first, you’ve got to plan for your move. 

While the prospect of moving to a new home is an exciting one, it’s no secret that the actual process of moving isn’t anyone’s favorite activity. Unless you’re living that #minimalist lifestyle (in which case, kudos to you), you probably have an established life—a life that might include a lot of hand-me-down knick-knacks you may or may not have ever used. (But more on that later). 

When it comes down to it, moving day is a culmination of a few solid months of planning, organizing, and yes—throwing out those items you thought you could never part with. Now that you’ve found “the one,” we’re here to help you prepare for moving day like a pro. Because your big day should be full of excitement—not stress—and here’s how to make that happen. 

Woman carrying boxes into her new home

Two Months Out

Decide how you want to move your stuff. 

The first question to ask yourself is… are you going to hire professional movers or are you going to take the DIY approach? If you’ve decided to take on the challenge by yourself, now might be the perfect time to start cozying up to that friend or co-worker with the brand new pick-up truck. But if you don’t mind spending a few extra bucks on a professional service, reach out to moving companies in your area and compare a quote or two. Don’t forget to read reviews—saving a few hundred dollars might not be worth it if you have to deal with damage to that favorite family heirloom. 

Channel your inner minimalist.  

A few months before moving day is also the perfect time to go full-on Marie Kondo. Give everything—from pots and pans in the kitchen to that pile of sneakers in your closet—the classic “Have I used this in a year?” test. If not, now’s the time to put together a pile for the second-hand store and pass on your abandoned treasures to someone who can give them a good home.

Get to know your new neighborhood.  

If you’ll be moving to a new part of town or whole city that you’re not super familiar with, it’s also a good idea to do some research, and line up doctors, schools, and maybe even some neighborhood hangout spots. Will you need a new pediatrician for the kids or a vet for dog? Ask your current doctors for recommendations, and check out local forums in your new neighborhood. If moving to a new school district, have you notified the school and asked for records to be transferred? To establish a new routine as soon as possible, scope out nearby parks and restaurants too so you can jump right in. 

Get renovations out of the way. 

Next, you want to make sure your house is actually move-in ready BEFORE you move in. Are there any renovation projects that you’re hoping to schedule and complete before moving in?  Are you planning to knock down any walls, put in new floors, or repaint the bedrooms? Give yourself time to finalize these projects now, and make sure everything’s good to go so you won’t have to do any renovation work (or even quick fixes) when you move in. 

One Month Out

Start packing anything you don’t absolutely need. 

The countdown has officially started. And you’re probably starting to wonder how on earth you’re going to pack everything up. Rest assured, you can do this. Consider what you can pack up ahead of time, such as seasonal decorations, artwork, pretty much any items that you don’t need on a regular basis. A good few places to start include the garage, basement and attic, plus any closets or spare rooms that don’t get much use. Like that front-hall closet that the winter coats are in? Tackle that first. 

Now’s also a good time to take inventory of your kitchen. Do you have bulk groceries in your fridge, freezer, or pantry that you need to use before you move? As the countdown to the move continues, buy your groceries a few meals at a time so you won’t have to throw away any perishables when it’s finally time to clean out the kitchen for real. 

Meanwhile, if you still need to close on the home, check with your mortgage lender to make sure everything is in order for closing day, and that the loan has been fully approved to close.

2–3 weeks before moving day

Celebrate your new address with everyone you know.  

Once you’ve officially closed and you’re nearing the finish line, share the good news on social media, and let all your family, friends, and neighbors know that you’re moving. Many new homeowners opt to distribute postcards among friends celebrating their new address. And hey, if you don’t necessarily feel like keeping up that nosy neighbor (you know the one), now might be your chance to accidentally “lose touch.” 

When you’re 100% sure everything in place, you’ll need to file a change-of-address form with the U.S. Post Office and make any necessary address changes to your subscriptions. When you change your address, you’ll likely get a bunch of coupons in the mail for savings at popular furniture and home goods stores (because you needed another reason to jump on that mid-century sectional, right?). And you should let your banks know too so you don’t miss any important financial documents

Double check all the details so the big day goes smoothly.

Once you’ve officially closed, double check all the paperwork surrounding the move, whether that be with your new house or with your old. This might include your agreement with a real estate agent, your purchase agreement, home inspection reports, or insurance policies

If you’ve decided to work with a mover, hash out all the details with them now, and make sure you’re all set for the day of. If you’ve opted to test the bonds of friendship by asking for help with your move, reach out to your friends and make the official ask for that pick up truck. 

And finally, moving day!

The time has come. You’ve prepped, double-checked, and packed up your life into cardboard boxes (color-coded and labeled meticulously, we hope). Your friends and loved ones are hyped about the move and all the dinner parties you’ll be throwing in your upgraded kitchen. And you… well, you’re just ready to celebrate. But before you start popping bottles of champagne, here are a few tips to make sure your day goes extra smoothly.

Think ahead and make arrangements.

Remember that the utilities should be turned off in your current home one day after your move-out date and turned on in your new home before you arrive. There’s nothing worse than wanting to christen your new master suite with a hot shower only to realize that you’re about to freeze your tail off instead. 

If you have kids or furry friends, arrange for them to stay with someone you trust during the physical moving process. It’ll make the whole day a bit faster and you won’t have to worry about them getting tired or cranky. 

Thank your helpful moving crew.

Make sure you have cash on-hand to tip your movers or as gas money for truck you borrowed. Buy your helpful moving buddies a pizza and some snacks to show your gratitude. And of course, pack a cooler too. Moving is tiring and you’re going to need a break! Who doesn’t love an ice-cold beer after a long hot day of work? 

Toast your successful move!

Before you unlock the door to your new home, don’t forget your final walkthrough of your old house—and say those final goodbyes. Snap a photo to honor the occasion and all the good times you had there. And then, it’s onto your future home for a whole new chapter of great memories. Celebrate that champagne-worthy moment with an affordable (and tasty!) bottle of prosecco. Welcome home, and cheers to your new adventure! 

We're here to get you home.

Bungalo is the new all-in-one experience that guides you through every step of the home buying process. Learn more.

This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, real estate, insurance, or investment advice. Bungalo always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.

How a Dallas area family found a house where they could immediately feel at home.

Three years after starting a life in their first home, Alyson and Derek were ready to move on from their small Texas town of less than 5,000 people to a more desirable location for them near better work opportunities, dream schools, and lots of fun family activities. First, the couple felt like being closer to Dallas-Fort Worth would broaden their career horizons. But there were other deciding factors too. “There was not very much to do before. It was… boring. We wanted to be closer to family and wanted to have stuff to do.” And with two kids and a dog to come home to, a short commute — and as much time together as possible — was perhaps their biggest motivator of all. 

Alyson and Derek weren’t just looking for the right location, though. They needed the right location, the right price, and most importantly, the right home.

The right home looks different to everyone.

Top item on their wishlist? Derek’s dad had recently passed down the ultimate family heirloom: his high school car  — a 1974 Z28 Camaro. But Derek knew the one condition for hanging on to this prized classic ride. “For a house we were going to buy, we had to have a garage,” says Derek. “He wouldn’t let me have [the Camaro] if we didn’t have a garage, so that was very important.” Alyson wanted a big yard for the kiddos and the dog, and a renovated master suite with a walk-in closet and standalone bathtub to relax in after a busy day of teaching high school Spanish. Other priorities were separate bedrooms for the kids so they could have their own space, and a home office where mom and dad could get some work done (working in technology, Derek needed way faster internet then they had in the country). 

When fixer uppers and cookie cutters just don’t cut it.

Alyson and Derek kicked off their home search by looking at some new construction houses with their realtor. But with cramped backyards and “cookie-cutter” stylings, none of these houses felt like the one. “I was looking for a house that I could see myself and my family living in,” says Alyson. “I imagined where we would put all of our furniture, how we would arrange different rooms and bedrooms, and how it would be to host parties and family get-togethers there. Sometimes, based on this alone, I would rule out a house.”

We didn’t want to move in and have to redo the house and fix things. 

Finding a pre-owned home that checked off all Alyson and Derek’s boxes proved to be a not-so-easy task itself. Especially since they wanted something within their budget that didn’t need ANY work done. “We didn’t want to move in and have to redo the house and fix things,” says Derek. “It was important for us to have a house that was as complete as possible.” After nearly four months of searching, the couple eventually made an offer on a house, but the inspection uncovered a lot of issues. “It was a terrible experience. They had original air conditioning units that were on the verge of death,” says Derek. “It needed a ton of work.” Having watched her fair share of home renovation shows, Alyson was just as weary of taking on a fixer upper. “I personally am not the type of person who can live in a construction zone. I can’t live in clutter, I can’t live in disorganization.”

A move-in ready home too good NOT to be true.

When it was time to tour their Bungalo home, Alyson and Derek knew almost immediately. “The moment for me when I realized that I wanted to make an offer on this house was… as soon as we unlocked the door and came in,” says Alyson.

We inspect so you know what to expect. Every Bungalo home is thoroughly inspected before it’s listed, so you can be confident in what you’re looking at. Learn more about Bungalo Certified™ quality.

They especially loved the modern light fixtures, and the charm of the penny tile in the half bath. “The homes within our budget that we were seeing… they still had like carpet from the 1970s or the popcorn ceilings. And then we came in here, and everything was shiny and new,” says Alyson. They almost couldn’t believe what they were seeing. “It was like, there has to be something wrong with this house,” says Derek. But Bungalo made sure everything was pre-inspected from the smallest details to the big ticket items. “We don’t have to worry about the A/C going out,” says Derek. “We don’t have to worry about the brand new water heater… the roof… everything is DONE.” The couple was pleasantly surprised, and ready to make the home theirs. “It’s a testament to the way Bungalo works,” says Alyson. “You pick a place that has good bones and good structure, and you make sure it’s going to last for years like a new house would.”

The moment for me when I realized that I wanted to make an offer on this house was… as soon as we unlocked the door and came in.

And just like that, a house becomes a home.

As soon as Alyson and Derek got their financing in order with their bank, they made an online offer, and boom, closing time. “It was emailed, it was signed, everything’s official,” says Derek. “Everything from start to finish was so smooth and easy and comforting,” says Alison. “There was not one moment of regret or uncertainty once we chose this house.” From there, pretty much all they had left to do was move in — which was about as stress-free as you’d expect. “We didn’t have to do anything,” says Alyson. “Our Bungalo home was a really great find for us because we were able to just come in, bring in the boxes, unpack, and really turn this place into a home.” 

There was not one moment of regret or uncertainty once we chose this house.

Now, being at home in their Bungalo means there’s a perfect place for everyone and everything that matters. Derek’s classic Camaro rests easy in its garage. Alyson can breeze home from work and get that bubble bath up and running in no time. The kids each have their own bedrooms with space for all their toys. And the family dog, Leisl, even has a spacious backyard where she can comfortably run and play. 

Want to start your own Bungalo homeowner story? Easy.

Find and tour certified homes, get connected to fast and stress-free financing, and make an online offer, all through Bungalo. Browse homes.

This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, real estate, insurance, or investment advice. Bungalo always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.

In a time when you can go grocery shopping from your couch and get a lift to the airport from a complete stranger, smart home technology isn’t just a nice-to-have — it’s a must-have. Why? Well, we all know being a homeowner already comes with its fair share of responsibilities. So when it comes to everyday life in your home, it’s pretty darn comforting to know you’ve got a house full of cool gadgets all working to help simplify your world. With the help of these fun and functional smart home upgrades, you just might be able to get back some time in your day, some money in your bank account, and even some peace of mind.

Take a look at our favorite ways to upgrade your home… to a SUPER SMART home.

1. Your smartphone is now your house key.

Wish you could unlock the front door with only your smartphone? Wish (and access) granted. Thanks to the sleek igloohome smart lock, you can now get inside your home with an easy-to-use app—no physical keys necessary. Just pair your device, and create a bluetooth key for yourself. Or let’s say you’re not home, but you have a friend or neighbor at the door who needs to get in. You can generate a secure one-time keycode with the app, and your visitor can let themselves in. Igloohome also tracks user logs, so you can rest easy knowing your home is safe and sound.

2. A digital assistant at your beck and call.

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the all-powerful Google Home. As a smart speaker and an at-home assistant, this gadget makes sure you have the entire Google universe at your beck and call 24/7. Now, you can ask Google all your pressing questions (or not so pressing questions… because sometimes you just need to know what Rihanna’s horoscope is). You can also have Google set a cooking timer or schedule an appointment for you — the more obvious uses. Oh, and Google Home can even read your fur baby a bedtime story. Once again, thanks Google for the endless possibilities (and for clearing up that Rihanna is a Pisces.) 

3. Smart lighting that learns on your schedule.

It goes without saying that lighting is one of the most essential components of your house—and smart lighting takes your interior game to the next level. A Deako light switch controls any bulb, fixture, or fan with up to three custom scenes. Find that perfect ambiance and never let it go. Need that perfect cozy date night setting? Trying to wake your brain up after a night of tossing and turning? Just tell your lighting what to do with voice-activated technology and use your smart home device (hey, Google Home!) or your personal smartphone. And for all you proactive planners out there, rest assured: you can set a meticulous schedule and on-off timers to align with your busy daily routine. 

4. Upgrade your Al Fresco living with this speaker system.

Whether you want to throw an outdoor dance party or just want a soundtrack for those intimate backyard dinners, the Sonos Al Fresco sound system has you covered. Simply connect your Sonos system via AirPlay, Spotify, Apple Music, or whatever music platform you choose to use and then sit back and relax in your patio furniture, and let the vibes flow through you. These high quality speakers are engineered to withstand humidity, water, salt spray, heat, UV rays, and even freezing temperatures. So any time of year, it’ll feel like you have a live concert right in your own backyard.

5. Welcome to your own personal climate zone.

Nest Thermostat allows you the full convenience of adjusting your house’s temperature from your smartphone, no matter where you are. It’s also worth noting that saving energy starts with your thermostat.

Did you know? Many Bungalo homes come with a built in Nest Thermostat, so you can save big on energy bills and control your home’s temp from anywhere.

Sure, you can unplug your computer when you leave the house, buy energy-efficient appliances, or replace your everyday light bulbs with LEDs… But none of that compares to the power of a smart thermostat. The Nest Thermostat learns the temperatures you like too, and programs to create a custom schedule. No more surprise 4am night sweats. 

At the end of a long day, upgrading your home with smart technology can make your days  smoother, more streamlined, and let’s be real, kind of fun too. Technology truly is making the way we go about our lives so much easier — and we’re not complaining. 

Super smart home buying.

Bungalo’s online platform guides you through every step of the home buying process, from home search, to instant home tours, all the way through move-in day. Check it out here.

This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, real estate, insurance, or investment advice. Bungalo always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.


In the world of mortgages, it’s normal to feel like you’re lost in a sea of confusing acronyms and bank-ish lingo. And since securing the right mortgage isn’t exactly something you want to “wing,” it’s a really good idea to head off your biggest questions at the pass. Let’s clear up some of the most common misunderstandings that come with financing a home so you can land your loan with the confidence of a mortgage Mr. Miyagi.

Misunderstanding #1: I should start the mortgage process AFTER I’ve found a home.

Many home buyers wait to start mortgage shopping until after they’ve found a home they love, and they’re ready to make an offer. But when you go this route, you might find yourself in a situation that slows down (or even prevents) your home purchase. Maybe you’re in a completely different financial situation than you originally thought. Maybe there’s an issue with your credit report you could have already sorted out. Maybe you can’t get your pre-approval documents together fast enough — things like recent bank statements, copy of your tax return, etc. — and someone else gets an official offer in before you.

In reality, getting pre-approved BEFORE you shop is one of the most vital steps in the entire home buying process. Doing the work to secure a pre-approval upfront will save you time and headaches when it matters most.

Get pre-approved as soon as today. Get a same day pre-approval* with Bungalo Mortgage, our affiliate company, which is valid for 90 days. Learn more.

You’ll have a better understanding of your own financial situation, what loan option is right for you, and how much home you can afford. Not to mention, with many lenders, your mortgage pre-approval typically lasts for 90 days. So even if you’re just getting started, getting pre-approved early means you’ll be ready to buy the moment you find a home you love.

Misunderstanding #2: The purchase price determines my monthly mortgage payments.

Let’s say you’re qualified for a mortgage of $300,000. Many buyers assume that this means they’re all set to buy a $300,000 home, and their monthly loan payments will reflect that purchase price. Well, it’s not quite that simple. When you think in terms of purchase price instead of mortgage payment, you overlook all kinds of costs that could impact your monthly housing expenses. For example, property taxes and homeowners insurance can vary greatly depending on the property type and where your home is located.

When comparing homes, you should consider what your total mortgage payment would look like, not just the purchase price. Your lender can help you figure out what to expect for things like property taxes and homeowners insurance, which will likely fluctuate over the life of the loan. Think through other possible costs that could be tacked on to your monthly payment too, like homeowner’s association (HOA) dues. The bottom line? You can avoid unnecessary budget surprises later by planning for your ideal monthly mortgage payment now.

Misunderstanding #3: Stellar credit score = stellar rate.

Yes, a higher credit score can often mean a better interest rate. But when a lender reviews your credit report, they’re actually looking at many other factors than just your score. Perhaps the most important of all? Debt. The number one reason buyers are denied financing is high Debt-To-Income Ratio (DTI). In easy-to-understand terms, DTI is a finance formula that basically compares your monthly income to your monthly debts, such as car payments or student loans. So, when you think about it, it’s quite possible for a buyer to have a great income and credit score, but too many debt obligations compared to their qualifying income.

Remember, a stellar credit score isn’t everything. Be proactive about pulling your credit and have a Loan Specialist review it with you. This is something you don’t want to (or have to) tackle on your own. A seasoned mortgage pro can help make sure your credit report is accurate, they can tell you your exact Debt-To-Income Ratio, and they can guide you toward the best rate and loan option for your individual financial situation.

Misunderstanding #4: The bigger down payment the better, right? 

At some point, you’ve probably heard the “golden rule” that a 20% down payment is required when you buy a house. And for many potential home buyers, the idea of coming up with a chunk of change that size makes the dream of homeownership seem like, well… only a dream. But we have some game-changing news for modern home buyers: The golden rule of 20% down isn’t the golden rule anymore. It’s an outdated concept from a bygone era of home buying (cue collective sigh of relief). 

The truth: Today, anything is possible — 10% down, 3% down, or even 0% down. Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or you’ve been through it before, an affordable down payment is more attainable than you think. If you need to buy without a down payment, you should look into government-backed zero-down programs like the US Department Of Agriculture (USDA) Loan, or for military families and veterans, the US Department Of Veterans Affairs (VA) Loan. There’s also the commonly utilized FHA (Federal Housing Authority) loan which has a minimum down payment requirement of only 3.5%. Not eligible for any of these programs? No worries. Depending on where you’re at financially, many Conventional lenders will approve you for a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3%. Yeah, sure sounds easier than emptying out your savings account.

Moral of the mortgage story? It’s easier to understand than you think.

Finding your way through the financing process is a notoriously tricky part of buying a home — especially if it’s your first time. But now that you know which major mortgage misunderstandings to look out for, you have a much clearer path ahead than most. Just remember when the acronyms do get your head spinning, you’re not expected to have all the answers. Because you’ve got an endless stream of resources and people here to help guide you through. And just like that, the student has become the master.

It’s never too early to start thinking about your mortgage.

Securing a mortgage today will make life so much easier tomorrow. Save yourself time, headaches, and money with Bungalo Mortgage.

This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, real estate, insurance, or investment advice. Bungalo always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation. *Same day pre-approval is contingent upon receipt of your required documents.

Okay, let’s clear something up. Sure, there was a time in pretty recent history that you could only buy a home if you were able to put a 20% down payment or more on that home (sounds like a lot of dough, no?). But today, with government-assisted, first-time home buyer programs and historically low interest rates, buyers of all backgrounds and income levels have plenty of down payment options to choose from (phew!). So instead of worrying where you’re going to find that 20% down payment, let’s take a look at some more inclusive alternatives.

Going the conventional loan route? A 20% home down payment is no longer the norm.

One caveat to putting anything less than 20% down: You’ll need to pay for Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) so your lender is covered in          case you miss a mortgage payment.

One of the biggest misconceptions in home buying is the bigger down payment the better. Berenice Perez, Bungalo Mortgage VP of Consumer Experience, says that isn’t always the case. “I always advise buyers to leave themselves a savings cushion whenever possible,” says Perez. “If putting 20% down means you have to liquidate your entire savings, then I would highly encourage you to consider putting less down,” says Perez.

Pre-approved for a conventional mortgage? It’s actually possible to put as little as 3% down. It’s not all or nothing either: With many conventional lenders, you can now opt for a 5%, 10%, or 15% down payment too. At the end of the day, it just depends on what home you want to buy (location, mortgage value) and what makes sense for your own individual financial situation (savings, household income, credit history, debts).

Buying with an FHA Loan? Close on a home with as little as 3.5% down.

Backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), FHA loans are a common financing path for first-time home buyers who don’t have a lot of cold hard cash to pay up front. But there are pros and cons to consider with this option. On the pro side, if you have the right credit score, you can get approved for an FHA loan with a low down payment of 3.5% for a variety of single-family homes and other housing options. On the con side, not all homes qualify for the FHA loan. The program’s rules basically take fixer-uppers off the table, protecting the home buyer from expensive repairs and other surprises. That means if you go this route, you’ll more than likely need to find a home that’s move-in ready (or close to it). You should also know that an FHA loan usually means higher Mortgage Insurance Premiums and with them, higher monthly mortgage payments. Perez says this is because “FHA loans carry two types of mortgage insurance so they can be a costly alternative in the long run.” Ultimately, you just have to decide if the slightly higher monthly payments are worth the low down payment.

Can’t afford a large sum up front? You may be able to buy with no down payment.

Depending on your household income and what locations you’re interested in, one lesser known low- or no- down payment program you might be eligible for is the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing Loan. Through the USDA loan, buyers who qualify can finance up to 100% of their home purchase. That means, aside from closing costs, you can pay zero dollars down, zip, nada. Don’t want to live next to a pasture? No problem. Many homes in suburban neighborhoods can qualify for the USDA loan too, so you can still live near the city.

Finally, there’s the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loan, which helps military families and veterans become homeowners. The VA loan doesn’t require a down payment either, AND eligible buyers don’t have to pay for Private Mortgage Insurance. Thanks for looking out, Uncle Sam.

Point is, you have options for your home down payment. So put your mind at ease.

Even if you don’t have a big chunk of savings to drop on a down payment, you too can become a homeowner. “At the end of the day what matters most is that you feel comfortable with your monthly housing payment,” says Perez. “A good Loan Specialist will start there and work backwards to help you figure out the ideal down payment for your situation.”

Competitive rates, expert guidance.

Find out how easy financing your next home can be. Learn more about Bungalo Mortgage.

This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, real estate, insurance, or investment advice. Bungalo always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.

Just because you’re buying a home for the first time doesn’t mean it has to be confusing and stressful. Stick to our timeline and cruise through the home buying experience without any surprises.

6-12 Months From Move-In Day

Build your wishlist.

Put together a thorough list of your must-have features and conveniences, your nice-to-haves, and your deal-breakers.

  • Which neighborhoods have you narrowed it down to?
  • Do you want a renovated kitchen as fresh as your recipes?
  • Is a backyard with a huge swimming pool a huge win?

Break down your budget (this one’s a biggie).

If you’re ready to start a serious home search you’ll first want to seriously consider how much money you’re willing to spend, and how much you can save for a down payment before you buy.

    • Consider how much “bacon” you bring home monthly, how much you’re currently saving, and check your credit score
    • Tally up any monthly expenses: your current rent, your car payment, day care costs, student loans, etc.
  • Ask a financial pro how much cash you can comfortably put down at closing (there’s actually a good chance you can get away with a down payment smaller than 20%).

Do a preliminary home search.

Before you dive right in and start looking at homes, do a bit of leg work to understand what’s out there and what’s within your budget.

  • Do some digging online to narrow down your search to specific neighborhoods, school districts, etc.
  • Browse listings to get an idea of the average purchase price and what features come at a cost premium (to calculate exact cost per square foot, divide the home’s price by # of square feet)
  • Set up saved searches on property listing websites to get automatic updates on homes you might like
  • Visit a few open houses to get a better idea of what you want without the pressure to buy

Hire a real estate agent.

Pro Tip: If you’re currently renting, try to time your home purchase around the same time your lease is up. That way, you don’t have to worry about getting out of your contract.

If you decide you want a realtor to help guide you through the steps of buying a home, now’s the time to find one. Tips for finding a great realtor:

  • Ask a friend to recommend an agent they trust
  • Interview multiple realtors to get a sense of who you’ll work well with and who will have your best interest at heart
  • Read online reviews to make sure your front runners have good track records
  • See which realtors have represented recent sales in the area you’re interested in — a little inside-the-neighborhood scoop never hurt!

3-6 Months From Move-In Day

Get your financial documents together.

Before you start to consider mortgage or home financing options, we recommend you get all your “docs” in a row so the whole financing process is as seamless as possible. Some documents you might need:

  • Proof of income like pay stubs or W-2s
  • Tax return copies from recent years
  • Recent bank statements showing current balances for all your accounts

Find a mortgage lender and get pre-approved early.

Do some research to find a lender who will help you get the most home for your money. Then, make your whole financing process easier by getting pre-approved early.

  • Compare interest rates and cost incentives for multiple lenders
  • Once you’ve narrowed lenders down, ask about their pre-approval process (a more thorough review of your financial info now means fewer surprises later)
  • Apply for a pre-approval asap so your mortgage will be ready when you are

It’s never too early to start thinking about your mortgage.

Securing a mortgage today will make life so much easier tomorrow. Save yourself time, headaches, and money with Bungalo Mortgage, our affiliate company. 

Start home shopping and touring (officially).

With a mortgage pre-approval in hand and your search narrowed down, it’s time to officially start looking at homes.

1-2 Months From Move-In Day

Submit an offer.

Find “the one”? Nice, you’re nearing the finish line. But before you get there, follow these steps to own the offer process.

  • See what other, similar homes are selling for in the area
  • Work with your realtor to put together a competitive offer
  • Typically, it’s best to leave some wiggle room in your budget in case there are other offers on the table and you need to negotiate (or in case you need to make a few updates after move-in)

Get a home appraisal and inspection.

Once your offer has been accepted, getting the home inspected and appraised can confirm the home’s value (to you and your lender) and reveal any red flags before you put pen to paper.

  • A home inspection evaluates the condition of the home to uncover any issues with the house, big or small
  • Based on similar home sales in the area, a home appraisal provides an expert value estimate that determines if you’re paying the right price
  • Appraisal and inspection results can help you negotiate for a lower purchase price or for necessary repairs before you close

Close in on closing day.

You’re almost there, promise. Once you’ve done a final walk-through of the home and contacted your lender to make sure your financing is good to go, you’re ready for closing day.

  • To take care of your down payment and closing costs, either wire funds before closing or bring a cashier’s check for the total amount due on the big day
  • Don’t forget: You’ll need a valid photo ID too!
  • The process will probably take a couple hours — just remember to read all the paperwork carefully, and you’ll close with confidence

Move-In Day

Congrats, you’re now a homeowner. All that’s left to do is load up the moving truck, pay for your friends’ help with pizza, and settle in. Buying your first home doesn’t seem so complicated anymore, does it?

Home buying just got a much needed renovation.

Find and tour certified homes, get connected to fast and stress-free financing, and make an online offer, all through Bungalo. Browse homes.

This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, real estate, insurance, or investment advice. Bungalo always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.

How a young Tampa family avoided the usual home buying struggles and found the perfect fit.

Samantha and Corey L.

Shortly after bringing their daughter Nora into the world, Tampa area homeowners Samantha (Sam) and Corey quickly realized that their starter home wasn’t going to cut it for this next big stage in life. With a newborn needing all of their spare attention and increasingly hectic work schedules, they were tired of all the time-consuming maintenance projects that came with their old home. “We had so many things to do to the old house. And with having a new baby, the time wasn’t there,” says Sam. Instead, they wanted a home that was project-free, with plenty of space to raise Nora, play with their goldendoodle, Marcona, and host visiting friends and Grandparents. Finding the right, move-in ready home was only half the battle, though. With so little time on their hands, Sam and Corey also needed a way to buy their next home while barely lifting a finger.

“We had so many things to do to the old house. And with having a new baby, the time wasn’t there.”

Finding an (actually) move-in ready home.

At first, Sam and Corey’s home search was fairly casual. For about a year after Nora was born, the couple looked at homes for sale online and visited a few in person. Their initial home search, however, didn’t give Sam and Corey much confidence. “We didn’t see the value out there. We saw some nice houses that were overpriced, and we also saw houses where we had to do work. We were trying to avoid that situation,” says Corey. The two eventually started working with a realtor, finally found a home they wanted, and made an offer. Unfortunately, there was a contingency in the contract that required Sam and Corey to sell their old house by a certain date in order to officially buy the new home. This was just one more hurdle for the new parents — and almost impossible within the contract’s timeframe. So the offer was denied, and Sam and Corey were back at square one. They had pretty much decided to stay put when Sam found a home online that checked all their boxes. They figured, why not check it out?

A home tour and a turning point.

Sam first visited the Bungalo home on her own (with baby Nora along for the ride). She was immediately impressed by the home’s design. “It was completely redone the way we would want it redone, which you don’t find in new construction,” says Sam. Featuring bright white cabinets, quartz countertops, and sleek chrome finishes, the renovated Bungalo kitchen was similar to their own, which they had recently updated to fit their tastes. Corey joined Sam on a second tour and was equally blown away, especially by the new wood flooring, since their old home’s floors “always felt old and dirty,” according to Corey. Both liked that the home was move-in ready, but still had character, which they hadn’t found in new build homes.

“It was completely redone the way we would want it redone, which you don’t find in new construction.”

Taking advantage of our convenient self-tours, Sam loved the fact that she could visit on her own schedule without an appointment. “We saw the Bungalo house and it was so easy to come check it out, so we came back probably like 20 times,” says Sam. “I’m walking around imagining my stuff in different places… it gave me more assurance that this was the one.” Sam would even feed baby Nora her snack on the patio — almost as if they were already home.

Tour any Bungalo home on your schedule, any time 8am-8pm, 7 days a week. Unlock home access.

Securing a stress-free mortgage.

After their first tour, Sam and Corey got ready to make an offer (before someone else could jump on the home they wanted). At this point, they hadn’t talked with a mortgage lender yet so financing was still a big item on their home buying checklist. When the couple found out they could apply for a mortgage pre-approval with our affiliate company, Bungalo Mortgage, they jumped on the opportunity, knowing it would make the purchase faster and easier than if they used another lender. “I would definitely recommend Bungalo Mortgage to a friend,” says Sam. “The people we worked with were very transparent and trustworthy, and we felt like they had our backs throughout the process.” Another perk that sold them on Bungalo Mortgage? The cost savings. Since they would be buying a Bungalo home, Sam and Corey were eligible for $1000 off of their closing costs, and an additional $1000 by using the preferred title company. That $2000 savings was more than enough to seal the deal. Guided by an expert Bungalo Mortgage Loan Specialist, Sam and Corey were pre-approved for a mortgage within minutes of submitting the right documents, and ready to buy their Bungalo home.

Owning every step, all the way to Closing Day.

From there, Sam and Corey brought in a realtor to help them get to the finish line. They thought the price was more than fair for the high quality of the home. And they especially liked the fact that Bungalo’s No Hassle price point meant they wouldn’t have to get involved in bidding wars, which was another time-saver for everyone. Bungalo’s easy online process was a huge win for Corey too. “I loved it. It was just extremely easy,” says Corey. “It almost felt as if I didn’t have to invest that much time and knowledge into how this all works, which was really nice.” Sam and Corey submitted an offer online and Bungalo accepted it the next day. With every step of the process broken down into manageable steps, Sam and Corey breezed through closing day stress-free. Now move-in day was just around the corner.

No more surprises, way more free time.

Corey was tired of spending weekends (and weeknights!) on house projects. So the fact that the couple’s Bungalo home was certified and backed by a warranty was a game changer. “I don’t have to repair it all the time. It’s just nice to relax in our house,” says Corey. Even after moving into their home, though, Bungalo still had their backs. Shortly after they moved in and started getting settled, Sam and Corey took advantage of the Bungalo Post Close Protection that was included with their Bungalo home.

“I don’t have to repair it all the time. It’s just nice to relax in our house.”

Like with any house, a few small things came up here and there (for example: the shower head would run a little bit when they turned the bath on). No biggie. All Sam had to do was reach out to Bungalo. Local Project Manager, Ryan, was in contact in minutes. “I reached out to [Ryan] at 9pm and he responded at 9:02pm,” says Sam. After a few thorough fixes, Sam and Corey were more at ease than ever and ready for whatever comes next.

Looking back and moving forward.

Now, reflecting on their experience with Bungalo, the young family plans to never go back to the old ways of home buying. “The process was incredible. I still tell people about it,” says Sam. “What you guys are doing is very innovative. I’d definitely recommend a Bungalo home” says Corey. “Everybody’s eventually going to buy a house, so if you give somebody an opportunity to do something a lot simpler and easier… I think that’s pretty cool.”

Want to start your own Bungalo homeowner story? Easy.

Find and tour certified homes, get connected to fast and stress-free financing, and make an online offer, all through Bungalo. Browse homes.

This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, real estate, insurance, or investment advice. Bungalo always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.

*Same day pre-approval is contingent upon receipt of your required documents.

Anytime you invest in a big ticket item — a flat screen TV, power tools, jewelry — you tend to hang on to your receipt, right? You know, just in case you need to show proof of purchase later on. So it makes sense that when you buy a home, you’d also want a receipt of sorts—a document that shows you are the rightful owner of your dream home and that all debts have been paid. In the real estate world, this proof of purchase is known as a title, and when you buy a home you “take the title” in the form of a deed that transfers ownership to you.

Getting the “receipt” to your home is an exciting moment. You not only become the title holder (proof that the home is really yours!), but you also add a new link to the chain of the title (a property’s historical ownership timeline), cementing your place in history as a property owner. The title transfer process is simple, but as one of the last steps in the process, it’s normal to feel intimidated (especially if you’re a first-time home buyer). So we’ll break it down for you.

Here’s what the title transfer process looks like from start to finish:

Step One: Secure Insurance From Your Title Company

Let’s set the scene. You’ve secured a mortgage, the offer on your dream home is accepted, and you now have 72 hours to put down your earnest money to make it official. You take some time to celebrate this milestone and then contact your lender to get the closing process started. Your lender is likely one of the first people who will mention the need for title insurance.

The reason? Title insurance—issued by a title company—means both you and your lender can rest easy knowing that the seller has the right to transfer the property to you as advertised (i.e. when all is said and done, you will walk away with the receipt you need to show proof of purchase). A title company will look for things that aren’t obvious to the untrained eye–like outstanding mortgages on the property (encumbrances) or unsanctioned changes to the property line—which, although rare, can jeopardize your ownership if not resolved before closing. While this might sound like yet another hurdle standing between you and your dream home,“the reality is, in most instances, the title to the property you are purchasing has been checked and insured multiple times before you,” says Mark B. Huntley, co-founder of credit building company Credit Knocks.

Securing a title company is pretty straightforward: Your lender or real estate agent can give you a recommendation for a reputable, local company when you secure your home loan. You can also ask family or friends in the area if they have a title company they like. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. You’re in the driver’s seat!

Save up to $2000 with Bungalo Mortgage.

Save $1,000 off closing costs when you finance a Bungalo home with Bungalo Mortgage. Plus, save an extra $1,000 when you use the preferred title company. Learn more.

Step Two: Let Your Title Company Work For You

Once hired, your title company can move forward without much additional input (also read: time and energy) from you. Depending on the state you are in, either the title company or the seller’s broker will act as an escrow agent. They will hold your earnest deposit on the house until closing or release the money to the appropriate party if the deal doesn’t end up closing. The title company will also make sure all other obligations of the sale (like repairs) are met.

While you’re scheduling your home inspection and getting the property appraised, the title company will be researching the history of the property to find out if it has any unpaid taxes, open second mortgages, Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) loans or Housing Owner Association (HOA) fees. This is also called the Abstract of Title. Next,  your title company will use this information to issue the title commitment (basically a promise to issue a title insurance policy for the property after closing).

If no issues come up, you can expect your title company to issue a title opinion letter, which describes the state of the property’s title, within thirty days. If your title company does find any issues exist—also referred to as “clouds on the title”—they’ll work with the seller to obtain the needed information or disburse the needed payments to settle any debts on the house by closing.

“The goal of the title company is to ensure that the title is free and clear,” adds real estate agent Rae Dolan.

Step Three: The Finish Line (For Real This Time)

Once it’s determined there are no issues with the title and all other instructions for closing have been carried out, the escrow officer will coordinate the funding of the transaction, the title will transfer and the home will now be in your name. At closing, you’ll sign and acknowledge that you have received your “receipt”.

Congrats, you are now officially—and legally—a homeowner!

Home buying just got a much needed renovation.

Find and tour certified homes, get connected to fast and stress-free financing, and make an online offer, all through Bungalo. Browse homes.

This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, real estate, insurance, or investment advice. Bungalo always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.